Thread: [Journal] Selling Affiliate Software Offline

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  1. #11  
    Administrator Nat's Avatar
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    LinkedIn Outreach Update

    Well, this is annoying. I started up a new method today. I got tired of hand addressing customized letters. I want to try and find some people who might be 'warm' and then put effort into them. So, I started connecting with a LOT of people on LinkedIn -- and discovered their monthly non-commercial search limit..... And now I can't search/connect/etc until the beginning of NEXT month . Since I just started a new idea today, I've got no way of knowing if its going to be effective or not, but I'm on a roll, so I may use my free trial of LinkedIn premium.

    Method

    Starting out at Indeed, I searched for local job listings in a certain niche that is relevant to what I'm 'selling.' I then looked up the company on LinkedIn, followed, and then looked through the people associated with the Business's page -- I then sent connect requests to 1-3 people in charge (depending on the company size). I customized the note to reference 'accidentally' finding the job listing through a type of elite society/group, included a sentence about me being able to help/solve ******* problem, and included my phone # under my name. No clue if I'm going to get any results with this or not, but I figured it was a potential method.

    ------------update----------------

    Yeah, F it, I'm gonna take my 1 month of free trial now.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    The Second LinkedIn Tactic

    I might as well post the second LinkedIn tactic I'm using. If you've been following along, I'm searching for local people. There are lots of niches that could be interested in what I'm offering. So, I'm picking one niche at a time and searching that term with local search constraints and also searching nothing with local constraints. Focusing on some smaller towns around the big ones before I move onto the giants -- so I get some practice.

    My goal is to see if anybody is warm. Here is the basic message I'm sending:

    Hey Mr/Mr {Name},

    I'm connecting with some of the most influential {niche} in {area}, and your name was pretty easily recognizable! I'd love to connect and possibly work with you to increase your clientele.

    - {My Name}
    {***-***-***}
    I'm hoping that they view my profile and skim my description after connecting (hopefully they'll accept). I'm tinkering with the message, but that's the template.

    Red Herring For My Solo LinkedIn Mission

    I created a fake LinkedIn account and added him as an 'employee' of the company I registered. I'll add more info about this guy as we go... The idea is that he's a bit of a legitimizer since I'm putting some interest into LinkedIn... and people might snoop into the company page, etc.

    ----------------------------------------

    First Phone Call From LinkedIn

    Got a phone call from a guy I connected with today. Actually, I didn't connect with him yet, he never even saw the request. However, a few of his employees that I also contacted did see the invites. They all forwarded the note to him, and he called me. I wasn't actually very prepared I do much better pitching this in person, and this was purely over the phone. I only vaguely remembered what his company looked like. I didn't have any materials to show/give him, and its not easy to describe software. Its a fun learning experience. I imagine I'll get some more calls if I keep this up.
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  2. #12  
    Administrator Nat's Avatar
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    Did nothing over the weekend....

    So far today I've just followed up with a few people through email and LinkedIn.
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  3. #13  
    Administrator Nat's Avatar
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    I've been busy working on other more pressing things. The only updates worth giving are that I'm not waiting on 2 somewhat interested people to call me. I've also grown my LinkedIn profile 5x since I signed up for Premium. Unfortunately, I think most people don't read the messages inside the 'request to connect' emails and just end up clicking accept or not (sometimes viewing my profile first). So, I haven't had anyone directly ask me questions about software over LinkedIn yet. However, I still think there must be a way to get some leads through it. I guess we'll find out. Of course, I'm taking suggestions ;-). Ironically, the most recent phone call I've received was from a corporate recruiter who saw my LinkedIn haha. I've got an idea for reaching clients that is very unconventional... (if one's goal is purely reaching potential clients) -- I hope that I'll be able to start this up without putting too much time into it at some point this week.
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  4. #14  
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    I've had a lot of personal stuff come up recently and really haven't had the time I wanted to put into this the past few weeks. I have done a few things, here they are:

    Outreach to Major Niches

    I talked to somebody who works for the state-wide "association" of {niche}. This is one of many niches that my software works well. I reached out to this association in hopes of getting onto a newsletter or something similar. Turns out they have a sort of 'partnership' program where my website can be added to a page of their website and be included on some newsletters/publications. I also might be able to write a short helpful article with a free plug for my product that will get sent out to all members. This could be great news. Or, the members might not be so responsive. We'll just have to see.

    LinkedIn Update

    I've reached over 1,000 connections through a few auto-clickers/sites. Time to start messaging them. I was contacted with another job offer because of my exploding LinkedIn. Well, I would assume that the recent activity was some type of trigger that alerted a recruiter.

    Craigslist Update

    CL is spammed to sh**. Its so bad. I haven't gotten a single response, and I don't think I've even gotten a page view out of one of the ads. Anything service or job related is not worth the effort unless you've hired someone to just spam spam spam listings.
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  5. #15  
    Administrator Nat's Avatar
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    Its about time for an update. I had a business thingamajig this past 4-day weekend and some other things taking away from this project. But... here we go.

    Update: Outreach to Major Niches

    Reminder, this was essentially cold emailing various local organizations of people/professionals/companies that I thought would be great candidates for what I'm offering -- compared to some organizations.

    I thought this was a great idea when I started out, and it was. I'm over halfway through the process of becoming an 'affiliate' / 'partner' with one of the organizations. Members will receive a type of discount. I've received 2 other responses to my email. One asked for more information and one set up a call for next month when they are done with XYZ. Another recommended that I come to one of their local conferences in 2 months. Hell yeah... (maybe).

    LinkedIn Update

    I got a cold call from someone I 'accidentally' connected with in a similar industry to me. Lasted 30 minutes. He was impressed with my profile... enough that he offered me part-time contract work in a very similar niche. I'm not sure I want to take this one, but I'm going to follow up with him and see what the $ is like. Always a chance I can actually outsource the work.

    FYI guys... I didn't put too much time into this LinkedIn venture... If you want a job, I've been offered two so far with almost no work on my end lol.. seriously, just request connections of people near you... maybe include "owner" in their description or if you really just want job offers maybe "recruiter" etc.

    Update from one client

    One person re-contacted me after I sent him a 2nd follow-up email where I offered to waive a set-up fee. He is deliberating. I'm going to need to craft a good email back to encourage my service. I might be able to get my first client.
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  6. #16  
    Administrator Nat's Avatar
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    New To-Do List

    Send short emails to 20 offices tomorrow -- same niche, same city
    Follow-up with organizations
    Re-contact two people about freelance/leads
    Buildout a website with the plan of using it to generate potential leads

    --unrelated--
    Do some behind the scenes work for CN
    Write another post in the Traffic section
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  7. #17  
    Administrator Nat's Avatar
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    Ugh, I've really neglected this -- not because I've lost interest, but because I've moved once, had several gigs come up, and divided my free time between a few different things (including writing other stuff for CN). Not sure if anyone is following along, but I'm sure people will read over some of this in the future and find it useful. No matter -- this is mostly a journal to hold me accountable and allow me to look back on things.

    Current Success

    2 software leads. As of now, I have yet to make a sale for the software that I started out to sell. However, I have 2 leads that are legitimately interested. They aren't in a rush which sucks for me, but means that they still might convert. I've met in person with one of them, and I'm waiting to schedule an appointment with the other.

    3 website leads. Through my efforts (described in this thread) to sell this software I have actually been asked about web design by 3 people. One is quite unlikely to work out, but if it did the fee would be around $7k. The second has a good chance of working out, no clue what the fee would be yet. It might be website optimization (speed) instead of full-scale re-design. I'm ball-parking it as easily a few thousand if its a re-design and at least 2 full days of billing if its speed/optimization. The third is a small time gig, probably only around $200, but it will take me only a few hours. The purpose of saying yes to this is for potential referrals -- more on this in the next section. (Also, you can still charge the little fish $20 per month for hosting and maintenance and security updates -- when you explain the monthly fee throw in as many things as you can and they'll eat it up, they don't have to know that their website could be hosted for $3 or that updates take 3 seconds or that there aren't many security needs on a flat file cms.)

    4 job offers. What the literal fuck, right? I set out to sell some software and because I presented myself as a professional, a young expert in a field, and smart/talented/go-getter four different people contacted me about work. I made it all the way through 3 stages of one of the job offers because I wanted practice. Yep, your read that right, I wanted some more experience with job interviews to get better at impressing people. Of course, I turned the offer down because I don't want to be locked into a 7:30-5 job every day no matter how nice the perks/pay. Some people dream of getting a stable job that pays around $160k per year, I'd prefer full independence. One of them I am interested in entertaining. Its 15 hours of contract work per week at a digital advertising company. I submitted an hourly fee estimate of $75. Its worth my time to see how a big player operates and to learn more. I'm also thinking I might be able to inherit some clients... that's the upside.

    1 B2B call. I actually got a voicemail from a B2B company that noticed me and thought they could help me scale. This is what happens when you come across as professional. Little does this guy know I don't have jack squat to scale yet. . Also gotten like 10 B2B emails lol.

    Looking for potential and upsides, not just immediate profit

    I want to quickly drop some advice for anyone starting out. Yeah, I went out guns blazing and shooting for the stars. But its not easy to get into this kind of business. My initial approach was to look established as hell and hope that would give me initial trust. It did in many regards. The job offer / colleagues are asking me my hourly rate and a lot of times the ball is in my side of the court which is crazy. But if you're trying to cold call / cold email people and offer them a service, that's a little different... This is why a small $200 website deal is worth it right now because this person is a doctor and has connections. I'll be able to leave 20 business cards with her and ask her to give them out to people she knows and to share info about my 'company' on her Facebook etc. I'm going to educate her on the other things I offer so that she'll spread the word. And she knows I'm cutting her a good rate, so she'll have some incentive to help me out.

    I read a lot, and almost any successful SEO / designer / entrepreneur in development or advertising will tell you to start off small and accept little work at a low rate with the upside that you're building a portfolio and a list of contacts. If you get the chance to do SEO for free for a local non-profit's big annual event, take it. In fact, try to take it. Because you'll get a backlink from them, a mention on their FB page / website / etc and might come out of there with some new customers.

    Okay, back to selling software to local companies

    Anyways, back to the original goal.

    LinkedIn update

    Guys... you will seriously make some decent connections through LinkedIn. Yes, lots of spam and lots of business circle jerking, but its worth it for a few golden nuggets. People have been impressed with me and I haven't even had to try... Its also a great way to message people directly. I've had a lot of people ignore me... but, most people get email notifications when they get a LinkedIn message, so theres a good chance that people are at least noticing you. You never know when someone is going to decide 6 months down the road they need your help.

    Cold snail mailing update

    I haven't done any of this recently. It was very time consuming and I got bored with it (ADD problems, someone give me more Adderall...). My conversion rate is still at 0%, but I got about a 8% lead rate and still a chance that 1 might convert.

    Cold calling update

    The ideal niches for what I'm selling do not lend themselves to easy cold calling. >.< Plus I'm not a huge fan of cold calling. Have sort of stopped doing this, and instead I'm just always including my phone # on any email or page that I send out.


    The big new focus

    Its always best to give away value first. People love the word free. And, I want to get my foot in the door with some companies. So, I threw up a second website with the purpose of funneling traffic to the software service I"m trying to sell. The website looks as official as possible. It contains directories of different niches that I know can use my software. I'll be emailing a number of companies and offering them a free position on this website with plenty of description as to the benefits and exposure that this will give them. And at the moment, its completely free -- all you have to do is link to us or post about us (or your new page on our site) on your social media. This idea may completely flop. However, its a different angle for getting an 'in' with a company/individual. Once they sign up, and list themselves under my website, I'll be able to up-sell them. Not to mention that by asking them to link back to the site, and share it on social media, I'll be getting backlinks for the site and additional exposure. And hopefully, people start coming to this site and asking me (or paying) for a listing. The site monetization built in, but that's not my goal (it will be a plus if it happens).

    The 1st plan: Email every local businessman / company that has paid to list themselves on other popular websites. Inform them that we've just opened up a new site and because they have experience in this area we would love to let them in for a beta run. Everyone else will have to pay to be a part of our exclusive site. It seems to me like this is a no-brainer. I dunno though, people are strange and outreach is hard. This technique will hopefully get the site more active with people who already have some online advertising budget.

    The 2nd plan: Start reaching out to businesses that need my service. I'll manually add them to our exclusive site (because hey, we're still in beta and we think this can really help your business out..) and ask that they establish ownership. Now that I've given them something of value (and hopefully gotten a backlink or social media mention) I'll try to re-market to them in a month or so.

    The 3rd plan: Contact some local groups and tell them that I would love for them to get 1st access to our new site... that their members can get excellent value from this bla bla bla and that its only going to be free for them / limited time.... Hopefully this works and gets the site some traffic.

    I think that this site alone has the potential to grow into something that I can either flip, or bring in some income with... I'll keep you guys posted.
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  8. #18  
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    Refocusing

    I've had 'success' so far, although I've yet to get a paycheck lol, but its coming. I need to refocus and not get distracted. I'm not devoting enough time to this venture to screw around with random ideas and expect any fast results. (Generally, experimenting and theorizing are my favorite things to do).

    Cold Contacting

    I've identified 2 local places I think will be good candidates and I have a 'real life' friend who can 'get me in.' I'll see if this pans out.

    If they turn warm, I'll do some research in their niches and have a better presentation to them.

    Other than that, I'm pausing active cold calling campaigns. When I have time to re-start them up, I'll try to change something about the technique to optimize it even further.

    Focus To-Do List

    There are 3 plans in the post directly above this one. I'll be going through these one by one.

    Today - however many days it takes me to finish, I'll just be doing this. Lets see if it works.

    -------------------------------------------------

    Craigslist

    I threw up 1 craigslist post in the local area in the community section. This is for the funnel site. Will update if I get any contributions.

    Tomorrow's To-Do

    1-linked-in post
    1-new blog post
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  9. #19  
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    First Sale

    The very small $200 gig went through. I haven't been paid anything yet because I trust the individual, but I've just started 'development' for it. Its interesting how these gigs pop up when you're trying to sell something completely different........ What is good is that its a connection who can hopefully send some more stuff my way.

    Updates

    My LinkedIn premium ran out today which is unfortunate it was actually nice to have. Crazy overpriced though. At least for me now.

    I've seen 0 positive results from the Craigslist post. This post was asking for community contributions to the soft-sell site.

    1st plan finished -- not very many total, I think I may try to find another directory to contact.

    2nd plan is going to be time consuming... it would be nice to automate it. But you can't automate unique content that Google will be okay with.

    To Do List

    • Re-try Craigslist
    • Look into some automation -- if it works out for this niche I'll disclose more
    • Freshen up on some web design because I may have another design client
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  10. #20  
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    Update:

    Almost finished the $200. Have had to put in about 3 hours so far for complicated reasons, which was annoying because this should have been an easy $200/hour
    Another small website request grew out of my efforts, $499 -- not in the bag yet, will know in a little less than 2 weeks -- verbal commitment though

    Got a second very interested person in the affiliate software, no meeting yet (hes a little far away), but exchanged 8 emails and its looking good. Wouldn't be a full-time monthly commit, but the deal (if closed) would be a couple thousand.

    Haven't had any time to promote the directory site... so its been stagnate.

    Craigslist community posting has been an utter fail.

    Automation -- have been looking into it and I still am.

    ---------

    Life's got me running on caffeine 24/7 to stay awake. Haven't had any down-time in weeks.
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